The Netherlands don’t appreciate bad business practices.
Apple has become the newest target of a Dutch investigation after reports of allegedly promoting its own apps over other apps on its App Store. The investigation was suggested by ACM, also known as the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets, a Dutch competition agency that “ensures fair competition between businesses, and protects consumer interests.”
While the agency was researching the app store, it noticed that there were indications of Apple exhibiting possible anti-competitive behavior, such as favoring its own apps in areas like search results. In a statement, the Dutch agency said, “ACM will investigate, among other aspects, whether Apple acted in violation of the prohibition of abuse of dominance, for example, by giving preferential treatment to its own apps.”
Apple replied that it treats all apps fairly. “We are confident [ACM’s] review will confirm all developers have an equal opportunity to succeed in the App Store.”
ACM, however, is also looking at expanding the investigation to Google’s Play Store, which is reportedly also using similar business practices. “ACM is calling on app providers to come forward if they experience any problems with Apple’s App Store, but also if they experience similar problems with Google’s Play Store,” said the Dutch agency. “ACM will use that information in its investigation.”
In addition to this, ACM says that it will also investigate Apple’s requirements for the App Store, namely the rule saying that app developers must use Apple’s own payment systems for in-app purchases, and must pay a 30% fee in their first year of use. The European Union agrees with the investigation, saying, “The study and the announced follow-on investigation complement the Commission’s decision on Google Android and the Commission’s ongoing assessment of Spotify’s complaint against Apple’s business practices.”